Super 8 Film Transfers

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8mm Film

I handle a lot of film transfers to digital file as well as DVD. It turns out that there’s a lot of people out there who’s relatives got into the home movie craze early in the game. The first thing to figure out when you’re looking at having the footage transferred is, how much is this going to cost me? Most people have no idea. The figure out cost we have to figure out the amount of footage or minutes of footage. Most people have the little 3 inch diameter reels. These tend to be 4 minutes for super 8 and 5 minutes for regular 8mm film.  The larges reels are the 400 footers. These can hold up to 33 minutes of footage. There are also 200 foot reels and 300 foot reels which can be figured my multiples of the 50 foot reels. The next thing to figure out is if you want digital files or DVDs. If you’re just using the for home viewing, DVD is probably the way to go. If you want to add music or titles or put the footage in any particular order, then you’re going to want to edit. For editing, you’ll need the files. A file is a single, self-contained clip of the footage. It could be an hour long or a second long. The main idea is that you can edit with a file whereas a DVD requires an extra step in order to edit. Also, a DVD is signifigantly lower in quality to a file, which can be no loss at all.
Another thing that comes up all the times is, I hear people saying, “I don’t even know what’s on it,” or “I don’t even think the footage will look good. It’s so old.” If I’ve learned anything, it’s that old film footage is so much better than any old VHS or Hi8 tape you have laying around. The resolution is incredible. The amateur photographs of yesteryear also didn’t let the film run on and on and most are very careful to capture only the most important moments due to the fact that they only have a 5 minute reel. The psychology is different. In the 80s you could run a VHS tape for 8 hours and just turn it on and walk away. In the years of Super8 and regular 8, that simply wasn’t the case. Nearly all the most interesting footage I see on a daily basis is this old film footage which tends to keep really well, even if it’s not stored properly. The idea is to keep it out of the direct sunlight, heat or moisture.